Seaside safety: Dogs Trust and the RNLI’s Top Tips

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beach boy
Image by Sally Wynn on Pixabay

Last year, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) rescued 164 dogs from the UK’s coastline; this summer they’re teaming up with Dogs Trust to release vital safety information to keep dogs and their owners safe on the coast this summer.

Check you’re going to a dog-friendly beach
Some beaches have a dog-free policy at times of the year, and others have dog-free areas. But don’t worry; there are plenty of dog-friendly beaches all around the UK.

Make sure you keep your dog on a lead if you are close to cliff edges or fast-flowing water
If you are on the beach and your dog has not yet mastered the art of recall, make sure you keep them on a lead. Long training leads will give your dog the freedom to explore while helping to keep them safe.

Always check the tide times
Before you head out for a walk with your dog on the coast, always check the tide times and plan your trip accordingly to ensure you don’t get stranded. Tide times and heights fluctuate throughout the month so an area that was accessible throughout the day last week may get completely cut off today.

Make sure the sand isn’t too hot
Dogs love spending time in the sand, digging and exploring. But before you take your dog on the beach, check that the sand isn’t too hot. If you can stand on it comfortably barefoot then it should be ok for them too. Provide shade and fresh drinking water for your dog all day, and pack some tasty treats so you can swap any unsuitable items your pup picks up on the beach for a dog-friendly snack.

Don’t let them get burned
Keep your dog out of direct sunlight where you can. Use pet-safe sun cream on exposed parts of your dog’s skin, like the tips of their ears and nose. Ask your vet for more advice if needed.

Dogs shouldn’t drink sea water as it can cause sickness and saltwater poisoning
Also keep a close eye on them to make sure they’re not eating anything they shouldn’t such as seaweed or plastic. Call the local vet if they do. Rinse any sand and seawater off your dog’s coat and paws with tap water to stop it from accumulating and causing irritation.

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If your dog gets into trouble don’t go after it
If your dog goes into the water, over a cliff edge or gets stuck in mud, don’t go after them. Move to a place your dog can reach safely and call them. If you’re worried about your dog, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard. The RNLI treats stricken pets the same as it does humans, and will always launch to assist if they can.

Dogs should never be left alone in cars
Even just a few minutes in a hot car can prove fatal. On a 22C day, the temperature inside a car could rise by eleven degrees in just ten minutes and as dogs can’t cool down the same way as humans, the heat can quickly become dangerous. If you see a dog in distress, call 999.

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